The intellectual rights, or copyright, to fictional works are “owned” by individuals or companies. In this sense, fictional works and art, like anything that is owned, are properties. When discussing the financial aspects, or legal rights related to a fictional work such as an anime or manga, it is often referred to in this method. The term “property” is rarely used when discussing a fictional work’s entertainment or artistic merits.
A franchise property, is a property that has been commercialized from multiple angles, possibly by multiple companies.
A property becomes a “Franchise Property” when the original rights owners produce, or permit third party companies to produce, spin-offs, sequels, or related merchandise.
Although a property technically becomes a franchise the instant merchandise is produced, the term is more commonly reserved for properties that have or are expected to have sequels and spin-offs.
Popular anime franchises include Gundam, Dragonball, Ghost in the Shell, Assasins Creed etc.